As far as I remember, beekeeping and honey are components of my life. My grandfather as well as my great grandfather were beekeepers and as a child I used to regularly visit the bee house. I still remember the intense buzzing and the particular smells of the beeswax and my grandfather`s pipe. And of course I love honey – especially on a slice homemade bread with a thick layer of butter.
Furthermore, I deeply appreciate the bee`s (and other pollinators) benefits for our environment. During my studies at the HafenCity University in Hamburg, bees were an integral part of many projects – such as “Bee-Ing Wilhelmsburg” or “Aristotle`s Orchard” in Thessaloniki.
Since none of my family members has taken the beekeeping tradition into the next generation, I decided to do a course with one of Hamburg`s beekeeping associations. Between March and May I was participating on a beekeeper course – on eight Saturday afternoons I learned lots of things about honey bees and beekeeping. After six theoretical classes, we twice visited our teacher`s beehives. At the first visit we learned in practice to look through a hive and what to be aware of – Where`s the queen? Are there queen cups and do the bees intend to swarm in the near time? Are the honeycombs with drone bees (product of unfertilised eggs) which have to be cut out? …? Furthermore we learned how to tag a queen – of course not with a queen, but with a not-stinging drone bee. In addition, also showed us how to split a bee colony, in order to avoid swarming.
At the second practical day we were extracting honey. First we collected the full (and heavy!) honeycombs, open them and then extracted the honey with a centrifuge. After filtering the honey, each one of us got a glass full of freshest honey. As soon as I arrived home, I enjoyed it with Gion`s homemade bread. DELICIOUS!
As soon as I know, where we will spend our next few years, I`ll surely keep my own bees. Until then, I am enjoying Hamburg`s honey and try to offer the honey bees as well as other pollinators a rich floral bouquet in our garden.
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